I wrote this article for our September Tribe News, our monthly communication with our Tribe members. I thought that it would be a good one to share with everyone as this issues affects us all. We pray you will be blessed, encouraged, and equipped as you read it.—John
Several years ago in Jerusalem, I had some free time to wander around and experience the city. So I went to one of my favorite spots—a little shop in the Jewish quarter (called Shorashim) of the Old City. Moshe and his brother opened the shop in 1986 as a venue for learning and dialogue. I have learned some amazing things about Scripture from Moshe, and to this day I always prioritize a visit when I’m in Jerusalem.
On this visit, Moshe talked about the “Table of Nations.” Though he didn’t use that specific term, he said each of the 70 nations listed in Genesis 10 carried an aspect of God’s nature He dispersed at Babel when He sent the people out to their own territories. Every bloodline on earth draws from these roots. Moshe believes the gift given to the Jewish people will bring all the other aspects together, which is why God blessed Abram to be a blessing and promised all nations would be blessed through him.
I’ve been studying and meditating on this concept for about a decade now, and I’ve put a few things together that I would like to share with you.
The Number of God’s Name
One ancient Jewish tradition says there is a 72-letter name of God that fully reveals His character. This name could be spoken only once a year by the high priest and only in the Most Holy Place, which the priest entered on the Day of Atonement. As you can imagine, the pronunciation of this name was incredibly sacred and has since been lost.
The Number of God’s People
Seventy nations make up the Table of Nations, but this number doesn’t include Abraham who became two nations: Israel and Ishmael. Each of the 70 nations was given a “god” to rule over it, which is the divine council of gods mentioned in Psalm 82. I suggest reading the whole psalm, but here I’ll highlight verses 1 and 8 (ESV):
God has taken His place in the divine council;
in the midst of the gods He holds judgment…
Arise, O God, judge the earth;
for You shall inherit all the nations!
Deuteronomy 32:8–9 says God determined the borders of the nations according to the number of the “sons of God,” the name given to the divine council mentioned in Psalm 82.
So from Babel until now, we see an interesting thing at work in our history. The story God is telling with us is a divine drama in which He has laid claim to every bloodline and is allowing humanity to play out its part: The nations get to choose whose rule they will embrace. Will they follow God? Or will they make another choice?
Stories of God’s Strength
This divine drama connects a couple of other stories from the Old and New Testaments.
When Jacob journeyed to Egypt, his family numbered 70. Centuries later when God delivered His people out of Egypt, the Bible says He judged Egypt’s gods. Some theologians suggest the 10 plagues were directed at different gods the Egyptians worshiped.
In the New Testament, Jesus sent out the 12 apostles to heal the sick, cast out demons, and preach the Gospel of the Kingdom. A short time later, He sent out 72 others (some manuscripts say 70) to do the same things. He gave them power and authority to do exactly what the apostles were doing: healing the sick, casting out demons, and preaching the Gospel.
When they returned, Scripture records a high-level demonic power being cast out of Heaven:
The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name!” And He said to them, “I saw satan fall like lightning from heaven.” (Luke 10:17–18)
The Tower of Babel
As my friend Moshe says, God gave every nation dispersed at Babel something very special—a part of His character. This piece of God could be seen in the language they spoke, in their creativity, and in their culture. In Genesis 11 when these individual pieces came together to build a tower, the manifestation of God’s personhood was so strong that it opened up a space on earth that could actually reach into the heavens. (God wasn’t concerned with the tower’s physical height—it was much more than that.)
Today God is bringing all the aspects of His name and His person back together in a people. What He scattered at the tower of Babel saw a glimpse of unity in the Upper Room. When the Spirit gave holy utterance to a people, Heaven touched earth.
You and I play an important role in this divine drama—we are witnesses in a legal case for the rulership of earth. God gave us authority on this ball of dirt that’s the center of creation, and the enemy constantly tries to usurp that authority. Through the work of Jesus Christ, God took back everything Adam and Eve lost in the garden. There will come a day when a representation of every tribe, tongue, and nation will stand in the throne room, giving God the worship He deserves (Rev. 7:9).
That’s why Jesus said this Gospel of the Kingdom must be preached to all nations (ethnic groups) and then the end will come. The voice of God can be only partially revealed in any one language or nation, and it will be revealed in its fullness when His multifaceted Bride stands before Him in glory.
To that day we look, working with all His energy that powerfully operates within us, so the King will receive the worship that is His due: every tongue, every nation, proclaiming,
Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen. (Rev. 7:12)
Thank you for helping us take this message of healing, deliverance, and salvation to the ends of the earth. Your prayers and financial support are bearing fruit in changed lives and restored hearts!
In His love,
John E. Thomas
P.S. In September we will be releasing a series of messages I did on spiritual warfare that will shed some light on the battle happening around us, as well as the right and wrong ways to engage in it. The series will be free on the Streams app, which you can download from your app store.